God Can’t Fit in a Box








The other day I sat down for prayer and was confronted by the Lord about how much of a silly bugger I have been lately. I have spent the last three years trying to streamline evangelisation into the most effective artform possible. That a + b = Christian. That there is a list of things you should or should not do, in a particular order, so that you can bring someone into a relationship with Jesus.



But the other day I read about the conversion of Saul, not just that he was struck blind and healed by a stranger in the street. But that Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit and then baptised… Now hang on a second, I thought it was at baptism that we received the Holy Spirit? But it is very clear that Saul received the gift of the Holy Spirit and was then baptised. Now, I’m no theologian and I know that there is a lot to consider here about the Sacraments being an effective sign of an invisible grace, that it shows on the outside what is happening on the inside. But what this said to me, was that if God wants someone to be in a relationship with himself, he will move mountains to make it happen; that he can use structures to do this but can’t be reduced to a particular structure.

We see this when Paul does a ‘great’ job of evangelising the philosophers of Athens. He built a relationship with them and found out that they worship and ‘unknown God’. He made convincing arguments how God’s existence couldn’t be dependent on things that have been created by human hands like shrines, because he made heaven and earth. He used a text that was familiar to them about us being “God’s children” to make the point that we are made of flesh and not of gold and thus God must also be made of flesh, just as Jesus was. But at some point, Paul must mention the one thing about our faith that just doesn’t make sense, that the whole salvation of the world hung on the cross, not Jesus’ teaching, not his healing, but his death and resurrection. And at this, many laughed at him, many said that they’ll talk about it later, but some listened and believed.


Yes, there are structures that we can use that the Lord has provided us with from the wisdom of the Saints to make our evangelisation more effective. But at the end of the day, we need to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, like Jesus tells his disciples to do in the Gospel today. That the Holy Spirit will tell them of “the things to come”, in which Jesus is referring to his death and resurrection. So, we need to be ready to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit that lead us to heal strangers in the streets and to preach powerfully in the courts, but to always proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Zac Parnell

Recruiting Coordinator

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